As I have mentioned, I firmly believe in the holistic nature of wellness- physical, mental and spiritual. For me, horses are part of my mental and spiritual wellness, therefore it only makes sense that I would include equine related blog posts from time to time! If you’re not a horse person, you still might find these segments interesting; but if not, take this time to do some reading on a topic that fills your spirit…
Even though the temperatures in the northern states are subzero right now, spring really is right around the corner! Springtime brings hope and excitement, and for many people with animals it means babies! In this post we visited with ND Bar Quarter Horses owners Jason and Jennifer Jensen to talk about when- or IF– you should breed your mare.
“If she doesn’t stop bucking, I’ll just breed her.” These words have been said in many forms by horse owners over the years. “If she doesn’t make a rope/ barrel/ kid horse, I’ll breed her.” Have you ever really stopped and thought about that?? Jason says: “My very simple response to that question is: ‘do you raise bucking horses?’ Their answer is usually an unequivocable ‘No, but I thought a good stud could fix that?’ It isn’t a stud’s job to fix a mare, it’s their job to compliment a mare.” Both Jason and Jenny agree that mare power is the foundation of any good breeding program. Jason elaborates: “If you wouldn’t be completely happy with babies out of your mare being exactly like her, you should reconsider breeding her. Even the best stud in the world will not fix a subpar mare.”
Jenny offers a list of things that might make you reconsider when choosing to breed your mare:
- “The mare’s condition at breeding time is suboptimal. We are huge proponents of good nutrition and believe (the mare’s nutrition) is vital to putting a strong colt on the ground.
- Poor conformation- I know it’s extremely difficult to find a horse with completely correct conformation, and I also know there are many great horses out there that compete successfully at all levels with less than perfect angles and balance. For me, I just don’t want to add that risk (of passing poor conformation along to the colt). Enough things can go wrong the way it is.”
After riding most of the young horses out of their breeding program, Jenny agrees with Jason on mare power: “If I don’t enjoy riding the dam, there’s a good chance I won’t love riding that colt.” She bases a mare’s worthiness to breed and the type of stud she chooses, on each mare’s riding and performance history. “Riding the dam is important to me when it comes to picking out a stallion. If she’s got plenty of speed, but not a lot of natural rate and turn, I’ll look for a stud to compliment that and vice versa.”
If after reading this far you still think your mare is breeding material, how do you choose a stud that will compliment her? Jenny feels that choosing a stud “is a lot easier if I’ve been able to ride the mare because I know exactly what I’m looking for. One thing I’m very picky about when it comes to deciding is the shoulder. I definitely look for a nice hip, short back and then I want the shoulder to be strong and athletic, but not massive. I want the power to come from the hip so the shoulder can be elevated to stride out, but strong and athletic enough to make smooth turns.” Jason adds: “When I look for a stud, I look for one that has consistently, repeatable characteristics that I want to build a program around. In our program, those characteristics are speed, power, versatility, mind, bone, foot and eye appeal.”
If this seems like a lot- it should!! Breeding is something that should not be taken lightly, every characteristic in each horse has the possibility to be passed down the generations. There are so many strong breeding programs out there, a mare should be pretty special and proven in some capacity before deciding to breed her. As far as leaving a horse a stud, in my opinion Jason said it best: “If an animal doesn’t check all these boxes, they should be a gelding.”
If you are interested in learning more about the Jensen’s breeding program, or their extremely versatile stud “High On Corona” check them out at www.ndbarquarterhorses.com or contact them directly at email@example.com